Kylie Ladd’s After the Fall

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After the Fall’s narrative cycles almost entirely around the voices of four people, two couples.
Kate & Cary, Cressida & Luke.
Initially friends, a mad insistent need draws Kate and Luke out of companionship into infidelity.

Displaying remarkable skill, Kylie Ladd has a different character narrate each chapter, intensifying a reader’s reaction to each, as well as managing to weave the plot beautifully amongst the perspectives.

This close ear to each character’s voice is key as it draws on an important impulse behind reading; the need for the familiar.
People and events in novels feel true because -perhaps in some previously unarticulated way- we know them.

Ladd’s tremendous strength as a novelist is to realise that this form of identification is merely an invitation.
Start on this road but do not be sure of where you’ll end.
A wronged partner is an easy character to sympathise with and their forgiveness welcome, but what if their forgiveness alienates something of the love?
The passionate, illicit energy that courses through a lover engages the senses in a fantastically earthy way, but what if its collapse hollows out something vital?

Kylie Ladd draws her characters like etching on glass. There’s beauty and violence in each stroke.

This review is cross posted at Goodreads

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6 responses »

    • Stephanie – IT IS! Read it – you’ll love it!

      James – You’re totally right about the feeling of familiarity with each of the characters. I still feel like I know all of After the Fall’s characters. Still.

      It’s interesting that you saw Ladd’s characterisation as a form of “invitation” (albeit one with possible consequences). For me, the image of Kate that’s presented to us on the last page is anything but inviting…

      I really admire the way you express your thoughts so poetically. Next AWW review, please!

      • Aww, thanks Michelle!
        I didn’t express this clearly enough but once you accept the invitation to the dance, you never know which part of the dance floor you’ll end up.
        For example, I identified strongly with Cary but his quiet determination to forgive relentlessly closed the door to something vital in his marriage.
        On the other hand, Kate’s focus on a new tuft of blond hair wasn’t something I felt unsympathetic towards; her need was so helplessly real.
        But I danced with Cary…

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